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Support Investment in America’s Sanctuaries

It’s time to invest in America’s national marine sanctuaries.  We need your voice!

National marine sanctuaries are national treasures that generate $8 billion annually for our local economies through tourism, recreation and supporting other industries that relay on our oceans and Great Lakes.  Federal funding is vital to conserving these places for future generations, to advancing critical scientific research and citizen science, and supporting public education and engagement.  Unless Congress hears from YOU, the National Marine Sanctuary System could see drastic cuts in future Federal budgets. 

Please make your voice heard today!

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation wants to ensure your voice is heard: Sign our letter today and we will send it directly to your Members of Congress. Help us turn the tide!

Support Investment in Sanctuaries

Dear Members of Congress:

As supporters, stakeholders, and partners of America’s National Marine Sanctuary System, we strongly urge you to support the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at no less than $65.5 million in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bills.

We respectfully request that you prioritize requests for: Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Operations, Research, and Facilities (ORF) account, at a level of $57 million; and Marine Sanctuaries Construction, within NOAA’s Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction (PAC) account, at a level of $8.5 million.

Today, America’s National Marine Sanctuary System consists of 12 national marine sanctuaries, 1 Great Lakes sanctuary, and two marine national monuments. These sites conserve some of the Nation’s most critical natural, historic and cultural resources such as the USS Monitor, Midway Island, sacred heritage sites for Native Americans, and some of the largest and oldest corals in the world. They generate $8 billion annually in local economies and support numerous jobs and businesses in the fishing, tourism, recreation, and scientific research sectors. They are home to millions of species, preserve more than 300 shipwrecks and our nation’s maritime heritage, and promote public access for exploration and world-class outdoor recreation and enjoyment for future generations. Sanctuary visitor centers, vessels, and facilities are key assets for communities; stimulate public-private partnerships on emerging technologies, cutting edge science, and hands on education; and attract millions of visitors to the coasts each year.

Balancing multiple uses on the water and engaging many constituencies in the community, sanctuaries provide a comprehensive, highly participatory approach to managing and conserving marine and Great Lakes resources. Public participation is a hallmark of sanctuaries and underscores their dedication to civic engagement and leadership.

From nomination to day-to-day management, communities are at the core of national marine sanctuaries. More than 440 sanctuary advisory council members represent stakeholders across these communities in order to provide advice and recommendations directly to sanctuary managers. And thousands of volunteers devote their time and effort to protect sanctuaries for future generations. In 2016, sanctuary volunteers contributed over 137,000 hours across the system, contributing more than $3.23 million in valuable support. What starts as one passionate citizen becomes an empowered community. Sanctuaries also serve as living laboratories for American students and STEM education.

The American people see the benefits that sanctuaries provide to local communities and our nation, and they are voicing their support. Communities are coming together to conserve our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes with expansions at existing national marine sanctuaries to new nominations and designations for sanctuaries for the first time in 16 years.

In 2022, the Nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. This is a unique opportunity to invest in America’s public waters, and the communities and businesses that depend upon them. This request will serve as the beginning of a deliberate and strategic ramp up to boost sustainable economic growth, business development, and community engagement centered in national marine sanctuaries.

We strongly urge you to invest in community-based national marine sanctuaries by prioritizing a budget of no less than $ 65.5 million in FY2018. Your support for national marine sanctuaries sends a powerful message about the economic growth and job creation benefits of healthy marine and Great Lakes resources while underscoring the value of communities in America’s iconic underwater places.

Thank you for efforts to improve the health of our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes.

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